In keeping with our theme of cool gear that would also make a great gift, we’re presenting a review of Bushnell’s D-Tour GPS unit, which is a simple to use GPS unit with some very handy features. Besides the usual latitude, longitude, and altitude, it offers an electronic compass as well as temperature information. But what really makes this pocket-size GPS a must-have is the location finder and the ability to record your tracks. Power it up, wait about a minute for it to get a lock on some satellites, and it’s good to go. Whether you’re parking your car in an unfamiliar location, or heading out on a hike from your campsite, just choose one of five icons to mark your location. When you’re ready to return to that spot, the D-Tour’s arrow indicator will point you in the correct direction, while the display also shows remaining distance back to your starting point. It’s that easy. Going for a hike or bike ride? Activate the recording option, and the D-Tour displays a little animated walking man in conjunction with your speed and distance. Press the button again to stop recording, and your track is saved in the D-Tour’s memory for uploading to their site. (backtrackdtour.com) Although you can record up to 48 hours of data, the batteries only last 16-20 hours, so bring spares on longer outings. (If this device was rechargeable via USB, it would pair perfectly with some of the new portable solar solutions we’ve been reviewing)
Here’s a sample image of the satellite view from a recent hike. If you click the link at the end of the next paragraph, you can see the whole track, and try the different view options as well as zoom in or out.
After you’ve recorded your trip or hike, you can log in to the backtrackdtour website and upload the data using the included USB cord. You’ll need the free Adobe Air download, which is available via a link. The maps are viewed in a window that shows all your saved tracks on the left side. By default, they are titled according date and start time, but can be renamed. Once opened, the date, start time, end time, duration and distance are all displayed, along with a graph showing elevation, distance, and temperature for the recorded event. Besides being able to overlay the route on Google Maps, and view with either map, satellite, hybrid, or terrain options, you can zoom in and out. This is especially useful when viewing the satellite image. There’s also a button to share directly to Facebook, a settings option that allows you to choose between standard and metric, and export options to save as an image (without stats, as above), print, or email. The latter option is the easiest way to share, and it sends a link to your recipient directly from the application. (See sample trip)
The D-Tour makes tracking and sharing your adventures fun. It’s affordable (around $120) and easy to use. The compact size and six ounce weight make it easy to carry anywhere, while its IPX4 water-resistance rating and rugged case means it’s not afraid of the rough stuff. Visit backtrackgps.com for more info and to register to win one on their Facebook page.